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Brookeville is a town located twenty miles (32 km) north of Washington, D.C. and two miles north of Olney in northeastern Montgomery County, Maryland. Brookeville was settled by Quakers late in the 18th century, and was formally incorporated as a town in 1808. The town served the local agricultural industry, with a toll road built to connect it with markets in Washington, D.C. During the War of 1812, when British troops burned the White House, President James Madison sought refuge in Brookeville on August 26, 1814. During the American Civil War, Brookeville, along with nearby Sandy Spring, was a stop on the underground railroad. Brookeville's population was as high as 3,272 in 1920, though it declined with the advent of the automobile which provided greater mobility for people. Since the 1950s, Brookeville has developed rapidly into a suburban community. As of the 2000 census, the Town of Brookeville had a population of 120.
During the War of 1812, when the British burned parts of Washington, D.C., the Federal government and troops fled the capital. President James Madison first fled to Virginia, but then turned north. He arrived in Rockville at 6 p.m. on August 26, 1814, expecting to find General John Henry Winder and his troops. They already proceeded on towards Baltimore. Madison continued on eastward and arrived in Brookeville on horseback. Madison reportedly carried with him a strongbox, which contained the entire U.S. treasury. On the night of August 26, he stayed in the home of Caleb Bentley, whose wife Henrietta Thomas was close friends with Dolley Madison.
Madison stayed up all night, dispatching orders, while soldiers remained on guard outside. After the British left Washington, they sailed to nearby Baltimore, where they attacked Fort McHenry and were repulsed. Upon hearing that news, Madison returned to Washington. Madison wrote a note to his wife that morning “ Finding that our army has left Montgomery Court House, we pushed on to this place, with a view to join it, or proceed to the city, as further information might prescribe. I have just received a line from Col. Monroe saying that the enemy were out of Washington on the retreat to their ships and advising our immediate return to Washington. I know not where we are in the first instance to hide our heads; but shall look for a place on my arrival. -- James Madison ”
Thus Brookeville is known for being the US "Capital for a Day".